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Interview conducted November 6 2021
Interview published November 14 2021

"It's not a job, nor a hobby. Well, it's actually both, but it's far greater than that."

Metal Covenant got some time with bassist Andy Christell and vocalist/guitarist Conny Bloom of Swedish rockers Electric Boys as they played in their hometown Stockholm in early November.

Tobbe: You guys have been able to play already about a dozen gigs this fall and describe the feeling of being back again.

Andy: It's absolutely amazing. I think the first one was in Höganäs. There were still restrictions, but it was an outdoor gig and the restrictions were starting to ease up a little bit. It was like "I won't believe this until we've done it.".

Even on the same day I was like "What if they cancel again…", because there have been so many gigs that have been postponed again and again. So it's really great. And people that are coming down to the gigs are really happy that things are finally starting to run again.

Tobbe: So does it feel like you're kind of back to the beginning of 2020 now, or is there still a bit to go to get to that point?

Conny: Well, both, I'd say. There are still some people who are a little bit anxious and have some doubts and haven't gotten back into this, you know.

(Andy:) Well, it's understandable. People have purchased tickets and it keeps getting postponed over and over again, so I understand that people are like "Will it take place this time, or what?". But this is something that we thought was never going to happen. You know, that we wouldn't be allowed to do this. So we appreciate it more than ever, for sure.

Tobbe: Personally, when you listen to your older music or your first idols' music, do you feel some kind of nostalgia in those situations?

Conny: I can feel it when I listen to certain records that we listened to when we were young. It's like when you're seeing a photo, or stepping into a staircase and there's a certain scent, then it's like moving through time. So there I can get the feeling of it, like "Wow! This is powerful!", but then it goes back to those things that meant a whole lot back then.

(Andy:) In terms of our own records, I know that when we did the 25th anniversary for Funk-O-Metal [Carpet Ride, 1989], for the first version of it, then I sat down and really listened to the record, which I hadn't done for years and years, and then I felt something, like "Aha! Oh yeah! Like this… The production…". I got some kind of vibe of, and memory of, how it was back then when we were young and made this record.

But apart from that, for our music, I wouldn't say that I am able to feel that. It's more when I listen to other people's music.

Tobbe: And as you listened to this old record, did you feel like "Oh, did I play it like that?" and "Today I play the songs like this."? Was there a big difference on your personal playing?

Andy: Not a big difference, but a small one. We talked about that, like "Over time we have changed stuff" and some things we thought were better, but with some stuff it was like "Oh, wait a minute. The original stuff is actually better than what we do now.". Because you change, and you want to develop stuff all the time, you know. We're very much like that, and not nostalgic really, but we think that we want to move things forward.

Tobbe: You have put out more records since the reunion than what you did in the late '80s and in the '90s.

Conny: Yes, and we have kept together for a longer time too. The first round was about 6 years long and now it's well over 10 years. But we haven't been so productive and I think it has taken a bit too long between the records. You know, first it was 6 years and then we put the band to rest, and then we reunited, but in the time that we have in fact been a band so to speak, we haven't been so frequent with record releases.

But there are many reasons for that though, and one thing is that we have such great expectation on ourselves. So we kind of collect a lot of song ideas and then they have to live up to our own desires, or requirements, or whatever, so sometimes it takes time. I don't know, but now from this last record [Ups!de Down. Out April 30th 2021], it feels like we've picked up the pace and have become more efficient. So I believe we will become more frequent with releases from now on.

I mean, I want to have a record out once a year. And we have never done that, but it has been a couple of years in between them, or, well, 3 or 4 years.

Tobbe: Is it perhaps kind of annoying that no matter how good the last 4 records are, a large part of your audience will still think that the old records are the best ones? You know, maybe because they aren't so familiar with those newer records.

Conny: I actually don't feel like that. The last albums have been very much appreciated live. On these records we have built new fan favorites, that people are singing along to, like Angel In An Armoured Suit for example. So that's not the way I perceive it.

(Andy:) And fans are coming up and, with total honesty, say that The Ghost Ward Diaries [2018] and now also the latest one are among the best we've made, even though they like the old stuff too. They say, like, "Well, the old ones will always have a special place in my memory.". So when we play those songs no one is complaining about us playing too much new material, which is really great. And there are also fans that have recently discovered us, and not in 1932, you know. So we play a mixture of old and new songs.

The problem is rather that we try to put together a set that isn't 3 hours long. There are certain songs that we feel that we need to play, for our own sake and for our fans, and then we try to shake it up a bit with songs from different records and try to squeeze them in there.

Tobbe: A part of the reason that I ask is that your audience is getting older and older, and quite a few people may be a little too lazy sometimes to listen to new stuff, really.

Conny: Well, you've got to respect that as well. A lot of our fans don't pick up the record in the very first minute, nor do they listen to Spotify, you know. They dig us for what we did in the past, firsthand, you know. And that's the way it is. We're just really lucky that we have those fans.

(Andy:) You want to take things forward because you're a creative person who is trying to create something new, but at the same time trying to respect the old stuff. You just try to build a whole, you know. If I go and see bands, and there's a band that I have dug for a long time, and who still are trying to make good music, then I wanna hear those songs as well because I just want to see a good gig.

That's what's most important, that it's great as a whole. And if you don't get to see your favorite song that specific night; well, that's just the way it is.

Tobbe: How do you look at keep doing this for a long time still? I mean, putting out records and play live for far longer than normal people who get retired.

Conny: Well, this is life, you know. It's as simple as that. It's not a job, nor a hobby. Well, it's actually both, but it's far greater than that. This is life, this is how it works. It has been working like this since, you know, I started playing, at least in my mind. Then it took a while for everything to get started.

But, you know, I dropped out of school after 9th grade and it didn't take long until I was out playing gigs. And then things have gone up and down, but I have, you know, done it. Unless I get rheumatism or something like that there's no reason to stop playing because this is what's most satisfactory to me.

(Andy:) I totally agree. It's just something you do. It's the world's greatest psychologist; playing music, you know. In every way. It's fun. If you feel bad, you know. It's something you just do all the time, so I agree.

Tobbe: When you now look back on your Hanoi Rocks days [2004-2009], do you see them as fun and happy days, or do you sometimes see them more like worse and dull times, if you see what I mean?

Andy: No, of course it was fun. You know, we have known them all the way back since… [Pondering] When the hell was it? '82, '83, '82? ...when we had a band with the first drummer of Hanoi Rocks, Gyp Casino. So that's why we started playing with them later on. It was just fun, at least a major part of it.

(Conny:) It was quite chaotic. But that's how it is with every good rock band. There has to be some tension, you know. (Andy:) But we had no problems; we just had fun. I still like them, really. We meet them when we can. Last time we were in Helsinki we hung out with Andy [McCoy] and he was up on stage doing a guest appearance with us, and when Mike [Monroe] is in town we meet him, you know. The same with the other guys too. And Sami [Yaffa] is with Mike too now, so. And Nasty [Suicide] we met in Helsinki. So we're cool.

(Conny:) I was thinking about doing that for a year or so, but it eventually became 4,5 years, and we wouldn't have stayed for so long if it wasn't working or if it wasn't fun, you know.

Tobbe: Before we finish this I just have to ask about that song you guys did with Svullo over 30 years ago. How did that materialize? What made you guys do that song? It was quite far from your style of music. [Micke Dubois, a.k.a. Svullo, which translates roughly into Fatso, was a Swedish comedian born in 1959 and dead in 2005, who made a song in 1989 together with Electric Boys called För Fet… [Mostly known as För Fet För Ett Fuck, which translates into Too Fat For A Fuck.]]

Andy: We had seen him do Captain Freak, long before there was stand-up comedy in Sweden, and we thought he was extremely funny. Then a guy at our record company introduced us to one another because he had heard that Micke liked our band. (Conny:) And it was Micke's idea, like "I wanna make a song with you guys. Can't we make a song together? I dig your funky style.". He had been in a competition playing air bass, doing funk bass, you know.

(Andy:) And we had really fun together. We recorded the song and then everything went super fast, you know. In no time, you know. We made a video, running around with Uffe Malmros, who is now a well-known director. We just drove around town. What you see in the video is what happened that day; during one day. A lot of stuff just happened. It was great fun. (Conny:) We just fooled around with the circumstances; what took place in that moment, you know.

Tobbe: So a final question, in the same subject. In what way did this affect the band in general to make that song? You know, the aftermath of it.

Conny: To begin with it went so huge right at that moment, but to us it wasn't so big. We thought it was a really fun thing to do and especially in those days we liked to do a little weird stuff, and kind of to surprise, and to be a bit crazy, you know. We had seen him, like Andy said, and it was kind of like Jackass, but a long time before that, and we were like "Who the hell is this lunatic?", so when this thing appeared we just had to do it.

So, again like Andy said, things went fast, and then we went back to America. You know, we had the song [All] Lips N' Hips, and Billboard, and a lot of other stuff. Then suddenly fax messages came in telling us that we were topping the charts in Sweden and we said like "What the hell is happening? We are saying för fet för ett fuck. We can't be in first place.". But it did, and then it became huge.

(Andy:) And during that whole time we weren't even in Sweden, whatsoever, but we came back in the summer to do a tour and everything was just hysterical, you know. We were out having dinner, because he was our special guest for I think 2 gigs, for instance on the one that was filmed, that is out on the web, in Eskilstuna, and he wasn't left alone for one second, and then we understood how huge it had become.

But it's funny that we weren't even in Sweden when that whole thing started to happen, but we were in the USA and recorded an album and stuff, you know. But of course it was fun. You know, we did our thing still, but it was great for Micke because we love him. He was a really great dude, he was really kind, and we had great fun together. So it was great for him, as well as for us, you know.

(Conny:) But to your question, how it has affected us now. It still happens that people don't know who we are, but then someone says "För fet…", and then they will go "Oh yeah!". So if they don't know who we are, then they at least know about that song. But that's not so peculiar, because it topped the charts and those songs become kind of household stuff.

(Andy:) And it becomes bigger than us. It kind of has its own life. People maybe still party to that song and are just having a great time and barely think about that it's Micke. They probably just think it's funny, because it is really funny. It's a groovy, funny song.

(Conny:) I think it's a great song. I don't hear it so often now, but when I hear it it's so great, you know. If someone asks us "Can't you play that song?", we go "Not a chance!". Micke is the one who makes it funny. We can play the riffs, but we can't play his parts. So that's long gone. But I'm just happy about it. It turned out to a great thing.

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